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This paper seeks to have an in-depth look at the biography of an exemplary woman who lived from the time of Hammurabi to the time of Marcus Aurelius. Hammurabi was the sixth king of the first Babylonian dynasty, which dates back to about 4000years. His reign was between the general time of 2342 and 1050 B.C. Marcus Aurelius was the last of the five outstanding leaders of Rome and a great Stoic philosopher. His reign was between the periods of A.D 161- 180. During this period when this people were in existence, there were other monumental people in the world. In this paper, we are going to focus on Cleopatra, who was the last queen of Egypt. This will be by reviewing the book, ‘Cleopatra: the Last Queen of Egypt.’
The book ‘Cleopatra: the last queen of Egypt’ is about a principal character by the name Cleopatra. It starts out in the year 57 B.C when Cleopatra is twelve years old. She is the princess of the Nile and has many plans on her mentality. Her father is the Pharaoh of Egypt and takes into hiding after a venomous adder attacks, and kills his beloved servant. This adder was meant to kill him, but, he escapes and it kills the servant. The pharaoh is in hiding because his enemies are hunting him down. In this situation, the youthful princess has to keep her head as her power hungry older sister Tryphaena tries to take hold of her father’s throne. The book has rich information of this tumultuous time. It describes her hairbreadth run away by boat to Rome. In Rome, Cleopatra and her father seek help as they are in a foreign empire.
There is also the detailed explanation of Cleopatra’s extraordinary effort to absorb the overpowering smells and sights of the new city and its barbarian ways. The book describes Cleopatra’s personality in terms of her speedy self-confidence and fast thinking as she engages with people like General Pompey, the famous speaker Cicero, and Marc Antony. This book on Cleopatra is in the form of a royal diary she keeps from the tender age of twelve years! The author highlights the tribulations of Cleopatra and her father in exile. They free as they are under siege from detractors and sisters who want to seize the throne. The author lays emphasis on Cleopatra’s phenomenal personality. Indeed, she was a monumental leader who had great impact on Egyptian History. In addition, Cleopatra was the last queen of Egypt and her reign was full of intrigues that had an effect on different nations and empire. Cleopatra was an influential woman and her history is bound to marvel any person. However, there are several accounts of her life history and it is difficult to know the real Cleopatra.
The book as biography describes Cleopatra’s life and personality. The Romans regard Cleopatra as a deadly omen. In their writings, people describe Cleopatra in different ways for instance Shakespeare depicts her as an emblem of disastrous love and Pascal in his words says that the shape of her nose transformed the history of the world! This biography majorly tells us about Cleopatra’s strong character as the last queen of Egypt. It portrays her as highly intellectual and the only Ptolemy who was able to speak and read Egyptian. In addition, the book says that Cleopatra was a fluent speaker of many languages. It elaborates her connections with Mark Anthony and Julius Caesar, her love for politics, her way of dealing with her enemies who were mostly family members and her exceptional powers. The biography offers information of the most extraordinary queen of Egypt on her rule, the tragic tale of contrasts and opposition, and tales of seduction. We not only get the picture of a strong woman but also that of a woman who ruled by sentiment rather than by cause.
This paper seeks to find out why the author sorts to write about Cleopatra and not any other subject. There has been a lot of information concerning Cleopatra starting from her childhood to the times of her reign as the queen of Egypt. Many people have written articles, books, etc about this extraordinary woman, but, in this biography, the author seeks to separate fact from fiction. The many life stories about Cleopatra have become deformed through the several lenses of legend, history, fiction, archaeology, and film to the extent that it is difficult separate the truth from the imaginary tale. The author writes about Cleopatra in an effort to separate myth from reality by putting side by side her sovereignty with the decline of the Egyptian Empire rather than the growth of Rome. Through this, the author of this bibliography manages to place Cleopatra solidly into cultural and historical context. The picture the author portrays of the queen is that of a sly political operator who ruthlessly tries to reinstitute Egyptian might in a quickly shrinking world. During her reign, the world was overpowered by the enormous and forceful Roman Empire.
The writer of the biography writes this book from the aspect of an archeologist with more information on Cleopatra. History being the authors foundation of her profession she writes this biography with ease. She brings out Cleopatra in a historical and cultural context that most people are not aware of, and the picture we get is a different one. The author targets an audience of people who have read about Cleopatra to the extent that they are not able to tell the difference between fact and faction about this queen. Her audience is people of the age of sixteen and above, and at this age, the information about Cleopatra is mostly fiction and exaggerated. The author’s style is informal as she is apparent about the unreliability of her sources. The writing style the author uses is clear, has originality in her ideas, and there is the full development of the story. She writes about Cleopatra from the time she was young, follows through her escape to the Rome Empire and her eventual reign in Egypt. This development clearly and coherently suits the audience the author targets. The book’s goal is to portray Cleopatra in a different picture in which we see her which is the strong woman who ruled the ancient Egypt. The picture the reader gains from this biography is of a woman who reigns by emotion than by motive, a queen who works towards her predictable self-destruction.
After reading the biography of Cleopatra, the ideas one has of this queen are slightly changing as the author gives a picture of this woman with many intrigues, seduction, and suicidal tendencies that are not present in the other earlier tales. The opinion of Cleopatra as a true political genius is slightly abandoned after reading this book; as it has more and clear information on the life of Cleopatra that few writers seem to describe. The biography is an excellent recommendation to anyone who wants to know the queen from another context. The biography gives us a compelling story and more information about the contradictory and rich sources of the knowledge we have about Cleopatra.